Offer Discount for Exiting from the Rear Door

Nudging Up Customer Service: Externally-Dependent Project

Problem, Classification, and Idea

Walking onto any semi-crowded bus, one will find customers congregating in the front portion of the bus rather than the rear. Worse, customers who are seated near the rear door will sometimes walk to the front of the bus to exit, further increasing dwell time and leading to system wide delays. In order to encourage customers to use the rear door of the bus, a financial incentive should be provided.


The monetary incentive needed to encourage rear-door exiting would not be great; a mere five-cent refund for rear-door exiting could be enough to change customer behavior. To make such a discount possible, NPT-compatible RFID targets would need to be installed adjacent to the back door on buses. In this case, customers would be able to tape their card upon exit to have the credit applied to their card. The expense of adding additional NPT readers could be offset by the added service flexibility provided by having a reader in the rear. Stops like The Plaza at King of Prussia could continue to allow rear-door boarding for all customers paying with anything other than cash. In addition, the concern related to seniors is a non-issue for two reasons: (1) they would still be able to use the seats in the front of the bus and (2) they would likely not be eligible for a discount from rear boarding (as seniors are able to ride for free).


Next Steps

  • Speak to Rich Brunfield to discuss possibility of including something like this in any upcoming fare tariffs.
  • Determine the amount saved in dollars of having passengers exit from the rear. Weigh the implementation costs and marginal passenger costs against offering the discount to determine if it is financially stable and sensible.